Verdict of the Court
    ‘You wanted to help Shona, didn’t you,’ put in Cian.
    ‘And Enda,’ added Cael with a smirk. ‘Don’t forget dear Enda.’
    ‘You just wanted to get rid of Brehon MacClancy to help the world,’ said Cian with a flourish.
    They both stared at Mara in a challenging way and she nodded her head with the air of one who is not too impressed.
    ‘Yes,’ she said, ‘but there are other suspects.’
    ‘You,’ said Cian. ‘Because of the satire.’
    ‘That doesn’t make her a suspect – it was the
wrote the satire about her. That’s not her fault. He just did it for a joke,’ Cael assured Mara. ‘He never thought that Brehon MacClancy would seize it and refuse to give it back.’
    Mara’s eyes narrowed. A satire on her; this was the first that she had heard of it. She wouldn’t have minded – no, probably she would have been immensely irritated, she told herself with a flash of honesty, but in public she would have had the self-possession to take it as a joke. Turlough, however, had a straightforward simplicity and he would have been furious. It would be no wonder if the poet, Aengus MacCraith, had been sick with anxiety when the Brehon maliciously confiscated it. She would have to go through the Brehon’s papers. Once she had finished with the twins she would send them to summon Enda and ask where MacClancy had put his notes. There would have been a judgement day arranged for the sixth of January, she remembered, so the cases should have been listed. In the meantime, she would see how much more information she could get from the twins.
    ‘Why should your sister, Shona, want to kill Brehon MacClancy?’ she asked in a respectful tone.
    ‘Because he was stopping her marrying Enda,’ said Cian quickly.
    ‘I see,’ said Mara. There would be more than that to it, she guessed. The marriage would not have been favoured by the girl’s father, unless Enda had better prospects. In any case, if the fosterage had ended, then it was not for MacClancy to say who she was to wed. She turned her mind to a different matter.
    ‘Where did the stable boy leave the knives?’ she asked.
    ‘Don’t ask me, I’m a suspect,’ smirked Cael.
    ‘And I’m her twin brother,’ remarked Cian. ‘I have family loyalty.’
    ‘Unless you can put aside personal affairs you are of no use to me,’ said Mara firmly and they both capitulated immediately.
    ‘He says he gave them to someone to put them in our room,’ said Cian. ‘He’s a hopeless witness because he can’t remember who he gave them to – one of the guard, he thinks.’
    ‘And where’s your room?’
    ‘Right on the top of the south-eastern tower.’
    ‘I see,’ said Mara. So the twins shared a room. She had imagined that Shona would have had her young sister with her in the much more luxurious quarters known as the priest’s room. Maccon MacMahon was in the old chapel – when Turlough had become King he had shown his devotion to religion by rapidly causing a small church and a priest’s house to be built in the grounds and moving the priest out into these quarters and leaving himself with two beautiful rooms for favoured guests.
    But the room that was occupied by the twins was a small room at the very top of the spiral staircase, just under the flag post. Would a member of the guard have gone to the trouble of taking the knives all the way up there, she wondered, or would he have passed them on to someone else. Or even taken them and put them down somewhere. It might be quite hard to find out what happened to them.
    ‘We found them on a window loop at the bottom of the tower,’ admitted Cian, ‘but one was missing. There’s someone outside your door,’ he added in a hushed whisper. ‘Take cover!’ He snatched a knife from his belt, crept over to the door and opened it with a flourish.
    ‘Oh, it’s only you,’ he said with disgust as the widely opened door revealed the figure of Domhnall with hand outstretched to

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